Immaculate Conception Church - Marrero - Louisiana
Respect For Life
Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S.
Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori,
chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, have issued the
The following interview is provided to you from The Crux of the News Newsletter and the NBC Website. In addition, to clarify the Catholic Church’s position concerning abortion is information from the Catholic Catechism detailing the Church’s position. Thanks go to The Crux of the News
On the August 24, 2008 edition of NBC’s “Meet the Press,”
On the August 24, 2008 edition of NBC’s “Meet the Press,”
Senator Obama saying the question of when life begins is above his
pay grade, whether you're looking at it scientifically or theologically.
If he were to come to you and say, "Help me out here, Madame Speaker.
When does life begin?" what would you tell him?
I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an
issue that I have studied for a long time.
And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church
have not been able to make that definition.
The Catholic Church at the moment feels very strongly that it...
I understand that.
...begins at the point of conception.
I understand. And this
is like maybe 50 years or something like that.
So again, over the history of the church, this is an issue of
controversy. But it is, it is
also true that God has given us, each of us, a free will and a
responsibility to answer for our actions.
And we want abortions to be safe, rare, and reduce the number of
abortions. That's why we have
this fight in Congress over contraception.
My Republican colleagues do not support contraception.
If you want to reduce the number of abortions, and we all do, we
must--it would behoove you to support family planning and, and
contraception, you would think. But
that is not the case. So we
have to take--you know, we have to handle this as respectfully--this is
sacred ground. We have to handle it very respectfully and not politicize
it, as it has been--and I'm not saying Rick Warren did, because I don't
think he did, but others will try to.
Madame Speaker, thanks very much for being with us.
REP. PELOSI: It's my pleasure. Thank you.
The Catholic Catechism clearly illustrates that the information Pelosi offered is incorrect. (Part 3, Section 2, Article 5, paragraphs 2271 - 2275) Original text found at USCCB
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person—among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76
2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,"77 "by the very commission of the offense,"78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.
2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:
"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."80
"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."81
2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.
Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safeguarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence."82
2275 "One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing, the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival."83
"It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material."84
"Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity"85 which are unique and unrepeatable.
a statement to mark Respect Life Sunday, Cardinal Justin Rigali of
On October 5, 2008, Catholics across the
Education and advocacy during Respect Life Month address a
broad range of moral and public policy issues. Among these, the care of
persons with disabilities and those nearing the end of life is an enduring
concern. Some medical ethicists wrongly promote ending the lives of
patients with serious physical and mental disabilities by withdrawing
their food and water, even though - or in some cases precisely because -
they are not imminently dying. This November, the citizens of
Embryonic stem cell research also presents grave ethical
concerns. The Catholic Church strongly supports promising and ethically
sound stem cell research - and strongly opposes killing week-old human
embryos, or human beings at any stage, to extract their stem cells. We
applaud the remarkable therapeutic successes that have been achieved using
stem cells from cord blood and adult tissues. We vigorously oppose
initiatives, like the one confronting
Turning to abortion, we note that most Americans favor
banning all abortion or permitting it only in very rare cases (danger to
the mother's life or cases of rape or incest). Also encouraging is the
finding of a recent Guttmacher Institute study that the
Today, however, we face the threat of a federal bill that, if enacted, would obliterate virtually all the gains of the past 35 years and cause the abortion rate to skyrocket. The "Freedom of Choice Act" ("FOCA") has many Congressional sponsors, some of whom have pledged to act swiftly to help enact this proposed legislation when Congress reconvenes in January.
FOCA establishes abortion as a "fundamental
right" throughout the nine months of pregnancy, and forbids any law
or policy that could "interfere" with that right or
"discriminate" against it in public funding and programs. If
FOCA became law, hundreds of reasonable, widely supported, and
constitutionally sound abortion regulations now in place would be
invalidated. Gone would be laws providing for informed consent, and
parental consent or notification in the case of minors. Laws protecting
women from unsafe abortion clinics and from abortion practitioners who are
not physicians would be overridden. Restrictions on partial-birth and
other late-term abortions would be eliminated. FOCA would knock down laws
protecting the conscience rights of nurses, doctors, and hospitals with
moral objections to abortion, and force taxpayers to fund abortions
We cannot allow this to happen. We cannot tolerate an even
greater loss of innocent human lives. We cannot subject more women and men
to the post-abortion grief and suffering that our counselors and priests
encounter daily in Project Rachel programs across
For twenty-four years, the Catholic Church has provided free, confidential counseling to individuals seeking emotional and spiritual healing after an abortion, whether their own or a loved one's. We look forward to the day when these counseling services are no longer needed, when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law. If FOCA is enacted, however, that day may recede into the very distant future.
In this Respect Life Month, let us rededicate ourselves to defending the basic rights of those who are weakest and most marginalized: the poor, the homeless, the innocent unborn, and the frail and elderly who need our respect and our assistance. In this and in so many ways we will truly build a culture of life.
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